Designer Sieb Posthuma is one of the Netherlands most prominent illustrators and is known among the general public for his picture books. He derived tremendous enjoyment from designing the December stamps: "December is traditionally a month in which we think of each other and show that we care about each other. Many people do this with Christmas or New Year cards. Sending a card to those close to you is personal, tangible and a nice thing to do. It also makes the recipients very happy. Being able to contribute to this through my design is a tremendous honour. It's a fantastic assignment that enables me to reach a huge audience."
Former top speed skater Jochem Uytdehaage won Olympic Gold medals twice in 2002, for the five and ten kilometre events, as well as setting new world records for both distances. Uytdehaage is also founder of Sporttop, a foundation that supports young sportsmen and women. The former speed skater said: "Christmas has many traditions, and sending Christmas cards is one of them. After all, a Christmas card on the doormat gives the receiver personal attention. No e-mail, whatsapp or Facebook like can compete with this."
Winter illustration depicts a Dutch Christmas
Posthuma produced one large winter illustration for the stamp images. For Sieb, the challenge lay in creating one credible, all-inclusive illustration that could be divided into twenty separate stamps. The snowflakes and the clock tower on the right were used to link all scenes together.
The large illustration is sub-divided into five landscape-sized partial illustrations, each comprising four stamps. The bottom three rows depict Christmas scenes, such as buying a Christmas tree. The top two rows contain scenes characteristic of New Year's Eve, such as fireworks and people hurrying home. The traditional Dutch character of these drawings immediately evokes that December feeling in the Netherlands. "My style also matches this feeling. Although the weather is often dull during the festive season, we fantasise about classical snowy landscapes and the romanticism of hot chocolate, lavishly-decorated Christmas trees and 'oliebol' fun", said Sieb Posthuma.
The new stamps will be available from today for as long as stocks last, from all post offices, www.postkantoor.nl and via www.collectclub.nl. A sheetlet of twenty December stamps will cost €11 each. The special December rate of €0.55 per stamp is valid from 19 November 2013 to 6 January 2014. On purchasing three sheetlets, customers will receive a Home Diary gift, also designed by Sieb Posthuma.
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